A SUFFOLK School has been praised for the ‘fantastic achievement’ in successfully applying for a new 3G facility.
The existing all-weather surface at Copleston High School in Ipswich is to be replaced by a new 3G pitch in time for next season.
Copleston High School worked with the Football Foundation and Suffolk FA to secure a Football Foundation grant of £409,665 – 77 per cent – towards the total cost of £529,665.
This grant will enable key partner club, Coplestonians FC, which already gives over 250 players the chance to play football each week, to bring more teams back to their home facility.
Players will be able to enjoy better quality pitches, which will represent a significant improvement on the existing sand-dressed hockey pitch, which is prone to waterlogging and in need of major renovation.
The project will see the existing sand-based pitch replaced with a 98.2m x 61.4m LED floodlit 3G Football Turf Pitch. The 11v11 youth-sized pitch will be the same as the one at Beccles Town FC.
Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Jodie Allard said: “Football Foundation 3G artificial grass pitches, such as the one which will be built at Copleston High School, are a vital resource for supporting the local community and enhancing the football experience across all participants.
“It’s a fantastic achievement of Copleston High School who have worked very hard to pull together a successful application to the Football Foundation.
“Both the school, and Coplestonians Football Club, are successful community-focused ambassadors for football in Ipswich. I’m sure that this new facility will be a valuable asset to support their further growth and development.
“Suffolk FA will continue to support both the school and the club to ensure this site supports the growth and sustainability of grassroots football in the local area.”
The current all-weather surface at Copleston School (above) and Youth players of Coplestonians FC (main picture) who will benefit from the new 3G pitch.
David Webb, a committee member of Coplestonians FC, said: “The announcement of the 3G pitch at Copleston High School in time for the 2020-21 season, means that Coplestonians will be able to build on the excellent work currently being done.
“The club have in excess of 35 teams from pre-minis (4 to 5 years) including boys and girls, through to three SIL teams, veterans and walking football.
“With this facility and the subsequent improvements in the grass pitches means that teams that have been forced away from our traditional home can return. The club are an FA Community Club and the 3G pitch will allow us to expand our activities into disabled football.
“In partnership with Copleston High School, we are providing football opportunities for boys and girls in east Ipswich to enjoy the game, improve fitness levels and their physical and mental wellbeing. The majority of Coplestonians players come from the school and/or their feeder primaries.”
Andy Green, Principal of the School, said: “Football makes a huge difference to the players, teachers and community here. We see first-hand the impact on players’ confidence, physical health and mental focus.
“To receive this funding from the Premier League, The FA and the Government through the Football Foundation means a lot to us, as it will help us to improve grassroots sport in Ipswich and get even more people involved in the nation’s favourite game.”
David King, Copleston Centre Manager, said: “The new 3G pitch will be a fantastic addition to our sports facilities at the school, which will not only benefit our students but also means a great deal to local clubs and the many football teams that play here.
“We are trying to create a real football hub at Copleston and this, along with greater investment into our grass pitches, will go a long way to achieving it.”
Paul Thorogood, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “We’re dedicated to improving grassroots football facilities because we want to encourage more people to get involved in our nation’s favourite game, regardless of their background, age or ability.
“That’s why I’m delighted that this funding will support Copleston High School in developing its new floodlit 3G pitch for the local community.
“Made possible by investment from the Premier League, The FA and the Government, via Sport England, the Football Foundation is supporting the grassroots game by improving access to high-quality football facilities across the country.
“We believe in the power of pitches to transform lives and strengthen communities and so we’ll be investing £1bn across the country over the next 10 years.”